NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Minutes for the meeting held on September 5, 2006

 

Present : Chairman Shawn Ward, Vice Chairman Vince Lombardi and members, Jay Sensibaugh, Allen Fidler, Shannon Wilson, Jim Bowe, Frank Mendicino, Beth Sanderlin-Weachter and Mike Piazza. Also present were Solicitor Paul Beckert, Township Engineer Edward Koehler, Township Planner Judy Stern Goldstein, Traffic Engineer Matt Johnston and Director of Codes and Zoning Mike Solomon.

1. Call To Order–Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 8:12 p.m.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting – 08/15/2006 –Members approved the minutes with Jim Bowe, Beth Sanderlin-Weachter, Shannon Wilson, Frank Mendicino and Jay Sensibaugh abstaining from the vote.

3. Traffic Engineer’s Report – Matt Johnston advised the following:

1. PennDOT Liaison – Traffic counts will be conducted this month for the Signal System at Rt. 413 and Durham Road. Also, the request for a right turn lane at Buck Road and the Bypass will be added next year due to funding issues at this time;

2. Newtown-Yardley Road intersection with Dollington Road and Terry Drive - Once the environmental documents are approved by PennDOT this will move into the final design phase; and

3. Miscellaneous Traffic Items – 10 seconds of green-time have been added to the traffic signal at Sycamore and Jefferson Streets.

At the behest of Jay Sensibaugh, Chairman Ward asked Matt Johnston to give an update of the progress on Stoopville Road at the next meeting; Mr. Johnston agreed. Further, Mr. Johnston advised Mike Piazza that he would check on the signal interruptions at Penns Trail and Newtown-Yardley Road.

4. Land Development

a. The Villas of Newtown, Upper Silver Lake Road – Preliminary as Final Plan for Major Subdivision

Frank Mendicino expressed his concern with the review of this item being “Preliminary as Final”. Chairman Ward advised that this was agreed to at the last meeting and that some of the issues in the Preliminary Plan have already been resolved with the Township’s consultants. Allen Fidler noted that deadlines caused the abnormality in the process and Jim Bowe added that the applicant should not be penalized for delays outside of their control.

Tom Hecker, counsel for McGrath Homes, Inc., accompanied by John McGrath and Mark Havers of Pickering, Corts and Summerson, advised that the planning issues and drafting/detail/engineering items in the review letters were being dealt with; however, there are no changes to the plan itself which provides for 172 homes within the B-17 Use. Chairman Ward noted that the primary issues revolved around the preservation of Beechwood tree and the proposed emergency access road.

Regarding the Beechwood tree, it currently extends over the proposed emergency access route. The resolution, so as not to disturb the tree, would be to relocate the emergency access route to run parallel to the development’s main entrance road off of Upper Silver Lake Road. A buffer would exist between the main access road and individual residences along the emergency access route. Mark Havers added that the emergency route would be 100’ from the nearest residence.

When Frank Mendicino questioned the reopening of Upper Silver Lake Road, Paul Beckert advised that the Board of Supervisors had chosen not to consider that issue with this development. However, the applicant had agreed to pave a portion of the cartway for emergency access.

In response to Frank Mendicino’s concern over access to the emergency route if an accident occurred at the intersection to the main entrance (Allen Fidler concurred), Judith Stern Goldstein noted that the proposed entrance was a “boulevard” with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction. Mr. Mendicino suggested placing the emergency access route on the other side of the tree; however, Mr. Fidler advised that any disturbance to any part of the tree would be detrimental. Matt Johnston added that if the intersection was blocked, emergency vehicles could reach the access road from the closed portion of Upper Silver Lake Road. Newtown resident John Hitchner advised that originally there was an agreement with Orleans that they would remove the pavement and put down checker-blockers. They failed to do this, resulting in inches of mud in the winter from the clay they put down. In his opinion, Orleans should be responsible for fixing the road. Paul Beckert agreed to look into Orleans’ responsibility.

Ed Koehler suggested two 6ft. wide drivable sidewalks on either side of the main entrance with a mountable curb to allow emergency vehicles to access the development as an alternative to the separate access road. Matt Johnston was opposed to pedestrian traffic accessible to a mountable curb and Allen Fidler felt that an emergency vehicle could easily breach standard curbing; Mike Piazza concurred with Mr. Johnston. Chairman Ward polled members and all were in favor of the expanded sidewalks.

Mark Havers noted that there were 14 acres of open space included in the development that meets the Township requirements; Judith Stern Goldstein will double check this. The items in the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance section of the Boucher and James letter are “will comply”. Regarding lighting, Mr. Hecker advised that the Clubhouse would be down-lit and except for security and special functions, lights would be turned off at 10:00 p.m.

The waiver requests in the Remington, Vernick and Beach Engineer’s letter of September 1, 2006 are still needed. Ed Koehler asked Mr. Havers about the metes and bounds (a surveyor’s description of a parcel of property). Due to various floor-plan options and lot sizes, the metes and bounds cannot be determined until the units are sold. Therefore, metes and bounds will be recorded prior to the request for a building permit for each quadroplex; a waiver is requested.

The applicant will provide curbs and sidewalks along Upper Silver Lake Road, north to Lot 1. Everything in the Pennoni Associates letter of July 27, 2006 and the Suburban Lighting letter of June 23, 2006 is a “will comply”. John McGrath advised that every unit has the availability of a 14ft by 10ft patio without having to apply to the Planning Commission.

Paul Beckert raised the issue of access to the site by construction vehicles. The applicant has agreed not to use Penns Trail; however, the condition of Upper Silver Lake Road presents a problem. John McGrath advised he would direct his vehicles whatever way the Township wanted and Shannon Wilson noted that regardless of the route, residents would be impacted. Mr. McGrath advised that he would control construction traffic and John Hitchner suggested requiring the applicant to be responsible for any damage to the Penns Trail if that roadway was used. Mr. McGrath was agreeable to this and offered to provide residents with a phone number to contact him with complaints about construction vehicles, if any.

Paul Beckert framed a motion to recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors with the following conditions:

1. Compliance with all of the consultant’s/professional’s review letters;

2. In accordance with the court order of June 30, 2006 between the owner, applicant and Newtown Township;

3. Preservation and restoration of the farmhouse on Lot 1, including a façade easement and preservation of the Beech tree;

4. Community center will include card room, fitness center, pools, tennis courts, office, and kitchen facility;

5. Shuttle service, satisfactory to the Township, will be provided for residents;

6. Complex will be 100% age-restricted except for the existing farmhouse;

7. Applicant will submit to the Board of Supervisors a copy of the regulations governing the operations, admission procedures, security provisions and requirements of residents;

8. Copy of deed and agreement of sale will be provided;

9. No hazardous materials on site;

10. No noxious environmental effects will be generated on site;

11. No offensive odors or glare will be generated on site;

12. No public hazards;

13. Pools will be maintained/treated by professional service and chemicals for that purpose will be kept locked away;

14. Impervious surface notation for stormwater calculations added to the plan including decks and porches;

15. Compliance with Zoning Ordinance sections 511.A.3, 401.B, 401.C, 405.B and 405.C showing the maximum permitted use on the plan in compliance with the performance regulation area, dimensional criteria and impervious cover;

16. Plan will contain note that no expansion of the building envelope will be permitted with a deed restriction;

17. Individual deeds will be restricted to prohibit the conversation of garages into habitational areas;

18. Clubhouse lighting will be down-lit and turned off at 8 p.m. unless there is a special function;

19. Signage will coincide with Township regulations;

20. Planting/landscaping will be in accordance with SLDO 529.1.D and 529.1.F and guaranteed for 18 months;

21. Requirement of curbs/gutters south of Lot 1, along Upper Silver Lake Road, will be waived in lieu of a payment to be determined by the Township Engineer;

22. Sidewalk will be provided along the front of the property, connecting to the existing trail;

23. If requested, the emergency cartway along Upper Silver Lake Road will be reinstalled and if the road is reopened within 2 years of the approval of the Final Land Development, the applicant will make the necessary improvements to the roadway; an escrow account will be established if needed;

24. Review/approval by the Township of the applicant’s draft of a stormwater agreement;

25. Summary tabulation showing the impervious cover for each multi-plex will be provided as building permits are granted;

26. Community center will be restricted to residents/guests;

27. Unilateral restrictions of covenants will be executed;

28. Landscaping information will be provided to the Township and tree protection/fencing will be inspected and pending approval, including any trees preserved on the property;

29. Park and Recreation fee (yet to be determined) will be paid;

30. Traffic impact fee ($114,572.17) will be paid;

31. Copy of Financial security agreement;

32. Copy of all approvals, permits and certificates required for the development of this site;

33. Submit water service/sewer agreements;

34. Outstanding fees paid in full;

35. Approval by the Fire Marshall of the emergency access provided by two 6’ sidewalks, with a 6” base, along each side of the main entrance with 6” curbs and appropriate signage;

36. Reduction in sloping;

37. Homeowner documents will include information that streets within the complex are private and do not meet Township specifications. Streets will not be dedicated in the future. Homeowner documents will include this provision;

38. Homeowners Association will be required to maintain the sanitary sewers, including repair if needed;

39. Township waives requirement for immediate approval of Meets and Bounds for each lot; building permit will be granted with approval for each Meets and Bounds description as submitted individually;

40. Snow removals will be contained within the development, the responsibility of the Homeowners Association;

41. 4 adjacent residents (Hitchner, Zagnit, Altman and Tomlinson properties) will be hooked into public water;

42. Primary construction access will be along Penns Trail North, with secondary access along Upper Silver Lake Road. A base course will be installed on Upper Silver Lake Road if needed and signage will provide residents with a phone number to contact the applicant with complaints, if any. Applicant will be responsible for any damage to existing roadway;

43. Will delineate own real property line from the Norwalk Development Estates; and

45. Letter from the Soil Conservation District will be provided.

Further, the Planning Commission recommends approval of the following waivers:

1. 504.16 – private streets allowed;

2. 504.17.A and B – private streets do not have to meet primary street standards or right-of-way;

3. 402.3.B and C – existing property does not have to be shown within 400 ft. of the property line;

4. 505.2.B – 350 ft. road centerline is not required;

5. 516.1 – curb gutters along roadway are not required;

6. 505.5 – 100 ft. tangent at the approach to an intersection is not required; and

7. 520 – area of sanitary sewer easement is not required to be kept on the lawn.

Jay Sensibaugh made the motion and Mike Piazza seconded it. Members voted unanimously to approve the motion with Allen Fidler abstaining from the vote.

b. Lewis Minor Subdivision, 46 Maple Lane – Final Plan for Minor Subdivision

Bill Dion, counsel for the applicant, described their request to divide the lot at 46 Maple Lane into two parcels, allowing for the construction of another dwelling on the property. Judith Stern Goldstein noted that there was a zoning issue whereby the lot area requirements differed depending whether public sewers and water were or were not used. The plans currently do not reflect the applicant’s intent at this point. Mr. Dion advised that due to the cost of connecting into public water, the applicant will ask for a waiver not to go that course; public sewers are already available on Maple Lane. The applicant can comply with the dimensional criteria if there is on-lot water and sewer; however, they cannot comply with dimensional area due to the one building’s minimum width at the setback. The only alternative is to create a flag lot that is not comparable to other homes in the area and would significantly disturb more woodland. Chairman Ward advised the applicant to apply to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance.

Paul Beckert added that subdivision approval could be granted with the condition that the Zoning Hearing Board approved the variance. Mr. Dion expressed the applicant’s need to move quickly on this and asked to review any other issues; members concurred. All of the issues in the Boucher and James review letter are “will comply”. Ed Koehler noted that an 8inch drainage pipe is very small; however, Robert J. Snyder of Pickering, Corts and Summerson advised that installing a 14inch pipe would elevate the property at the road. Mr. Koehler will inspect the site for adequacy. All other items in the Remington and Vernick Engineers letter, along with the Bucks County Planning Commission letter, are “will comply”. One tree to the rear of the property will be taken down due to the condition of the tree and the proximity to the house. Jay Sensibaugh suggested waiving the traffic impact fee and Mike Piazza concurred.

Paul Beckert framed a motion to recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors dependent upon the Zoning Hearing Board granting the variance and subject to the following conditions:

1. Applicant will revise plans to meet lot area and dimensional requirements along with evidencing the public sewer tie in and private water supply;

2. Compliance with the consultant’s/professional’s review letters;

3. Provide evidence of financial security, dedication of easement, permits, water/sewer service agreement or letter advising service is not required, open space deed restriction, payment of Park and Recreation fees (to be calculated), payment of the traffic impact fee ($1,591.55), if not waived and a unilateral declaration of restriction of covenants;

4. Note to the plan to indicate public water supply is not deemed available; applicant will meet all the requirements of the Bucks County Board of Health;

5. Stormwater management ordinance compliance;

6. Stormwater facilities to be maintained by the owner and designed subject to the approval of the Township Engineer and a blanket easement granted;

7. Township Engineer to determine if 8-inch drainage pipe is adequate;

8. Payment of fees generated by subdivision approval;

9. Compliance with any lighting issues;

10. Plan revised to meet the lot area requirements; and

11. Waivers granted in the Remmington and Vernick letter of August 3, 2006.

Mike Piazza made the motion and Vince Lombardi seconded it. Members voted 8 to 1 to approve the motion.

5. Ordinance Review – Newtown Veteran’s Cemetery Amendment; Melsky Rezoning Amendment – Change to Zoning Map and Ordinance

Paul Beckert advised that the ordinance only affects one portion of Township Property, that being the front section of the Melsky tract; some of that property will be developed into residential housing and the remainder held by the Council Rock School District. The rest of the Overlay District is in Upper Makefield Township.

John Rice, Solicitor for Upper Makefield Township, advised that the Cemetery area is 200 acres and the Upper Makefield residential area and open space (called the White tract) is 100 acres. Toll Brothers filed a Conditional Use plan on the 300 total acres that was denied and is on appeal to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Another B-1 buy-right plan is also in play and no decision has been made to date. The Zoning Ordinance is also a consideration. The Gray tract is an approved 96 unit age qualified development and not a part of the Zoning Ordinance. A sewer treatment facility is proposed on the Grey tract along with two wells on the White tract. There are no plans from the Veterans Association yet; however, an entrance to the cemetery is under consideration for Highland Road.

Vice Chairman Lombardi was extremely concerned about the traffic impact that will be generated by the cemetery, as well as, the additional residential development; members concurred. He added that both Newtown Township and Lower Makefield Township would be greatly affected. Mr. Rice felt that the traffic impact from the cemetery would not be that great since funerals would only be allowed on weekdays between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and that there would only be a few large events, i.e. those held on Memorial Day. Ed Murphy, Esq., counsel for Toll Brothers, Inc., advised that at this point there is no agreement of sale between his client, the school district and the Veteran’s Association; however, the VA is looking to finalize this so that they can move forward with the cemetery or select another site. It appears that the agreement of sale will go through, if the Overlay Ordinance is approved.

Allen Fidler noted that Upper Makefield Township does not have traffic impact fees and Mr. Murphy noted that Representative Mike Fitzpatrick had indicated that funds could be available for the Stoopville corridor.

When Chairman Ward polled the members regarding the continuation of these discussions, Jim Bowe motioned to table this for further discussion before making a determination on the ordinance and Mike Piazza seconded the motion. Members unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 for that purpose.

6. Old Business – The Elliot Group, Promenade at Sycamore Street

Dave Sanders, Esq., counsel for the applicant, advised that some revisions had been made to the plans. Frank Mendicino asked for the revised height and square footage of the building. Mr. Sanders indicated that the building elevation had been reduced from 49ft to 43ft and the gross square footage had been reduced from 95,000SF to 89,100SF. Feeling that the revisions were not significant enough, Mr. Mendicino motioned to affirm the Planning Commission’s recommendation of denial by the Board of Supervisors and Jim Bowe seconded the motion. Members voted unanimously to approve the motion.

7. Subcommittee Reports - Due to the length of the meeting, Chairman Ward did not review any of the reports.

8. Adjournment –Chairman Ward adjourned the meeting at 12:45 a.m. and members unanimously agreed.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Susan M. Dalman, Recording Secretary